Solar Project Energizing Arizona State University’s West Campus

Posted By Mike Padgett

May 3, 2009


PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona State University is turning to the sun to provide 3.3 megawatts of renewable energy for its West Valley campus.

The solar panel project will be on open space on the West campus and will meet nearly all of its energy needs, said David Brixen, ASU interim vice president of university services.

It is part of the second phase of ASU’s overall solarization project on all of its campuses.

“The new solar photovoltaic system at ASU West is a significant investment for our campus,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “It is a smart investment in that it will pay back in annual dividends to ASU and to Arizona by taking the West campus partially off the traditional energy grid and putting it on one that is based on a renewable and sustainable energy source that does not pollute our environment.”

The solar cells will be located between 49th and 51st avenues, south of the Las Casas residence complex. Most of the installation will be in an open area. Brixen said some of the solar cells will cover existing parking areas, providing shade to cars. Construction is expected to begin this summer with the system operational by late 2009.

There are discussions to increase the size of the project so it can generate seven megawatts, but that would mean using more land, Brixen says.

The West campus solar project is part of an overall effort by ASU to transition to renewable energy systems for its power. Already, the Tempe campus has built solar photovoltaic systems that produce approximately two megawatts of power. When phase two of this project is completed, ASU will have built solar cell systems that generate more than 10 MW of power on all of its four campuses, Brixen said.

Three companies are providing the solar cell systems and infrastructure for the overall ASU project. They are Independent Energy Group, Arizona Public Service Energy Services and CarbonFree Technology. Arizona Public Service Energy Services is installing the photovoltaic systems on the West campus.

“We believe that when these projects are completed, the 10 MW of solar energy will be the largest university solar photovoltaic system in the U.S.,” Brixen said.


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May 3rd, 2009

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